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He also said there is a “brilliant scheme” at the foodbank in his constituency of Ashfield, adding: “When people come now for a food parcel, they’ve got to register for a budgeting course and a cooking course.
“And what we do at the food bank, we show them how to cook cheap and nutritious meals on a budget. We can make a meal for around 30p a day and this is cooking from scratch.”
The cost of living crisis means food banks are nearly at breaking point, and Britain’s poorest families are struggling to make ends meet.
In a Twitter thread, The Food Foundation said: “Rising food insecurity isn’t caused by people not knowing how to cook – families are facing skyrocketing food/fuel prices and incomes aren’t keeping up. Teaching people to cook is not on its own the answer, and cooking from scratch isn’t always cheap.
“In fact, cooking skills are not lower in low income groups: studies show people report high levels of confidence in cooking skills and this doesn’t substantially vary across socio-demographic groups.”
Additionally, the Food Foundation found research from Canada showing that adults in food insecure households do not have lower food preparation skills than those in food secure households.
Likewise, a study in the USA found that ‘use of a budget’ did not significantly differ between food-secure and food-insecure households.
The foundation’s analysis found that even before prices increased, a government advised healthy diet cost the poorest fifth of households forty per cent of their disposable income.
Anderson’s claims that a meal can be made from scratch for 30p a day are based off cooking in bulk for a family of five for a week – which not everyone has the facilities for, or can afford to do. The calculation also does not include rising energy costs.
Shop prices are increasing at the fastest rate in more than a decade, according to The British Retail Consortium, and previous analysis from The Food Foundation showed one in five households with children are struggling to put food on the table.
Low income families are also being forced to ditch fresh food due to the cost of cooking, with analysis showing the price of home cooked food has increased, relative to the price of processed food, making convenience foods a more appealing option.
A four-point plan by The Food Foundation aims to help everyone to eat well during the cost of living crisis.
It recommends increasing incomes and workplace benefits in line with inflation, and providing a safety net to protect children, through the expansion of free school meals, breakfast provision and the Healthy Start scheme for pregnant women and mothers.
The foundation also wants to see healthy foods made more affordable by exploring using taxes and subsidies to rebalance the prices of healthy and unhealthy products.
It also says committing to a new Good Food Bill would help with the next food emergency, by installing a long term plan to build the resilience of food systems and citizens.